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Russian Doping Whistleblower Fears After Account Hacked

Hackers appear to have accessed the online account of Russian athletics doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova, possibly in an attempt to learn the whereabouts of the 800-meter runner, who is in hiding with her husband.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) admitted over the weekend that its systems had been breached, although it confirmed no other athletes' details had been compromised.

The logins for Stepanova’s WADA Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) account were accessed and used by an unauthorized third party.

Although the anti-doping agency claims it locked the account immediately following the discovery, hackers may have been able to access key account info including the location of the athlete.

Athletes usually have to register their location on the site in order for anti-doping officials to be able to contact them for spot tests.

Stepanova and her husband Vitaly are thought to be in hiding in the US following their incendiary evidence to the Independent Pound Commission which revealed widespread state-sponsored doping by Russia.

The hackers probably obtained Stepanova’s credentials via a simple phishing attack.

WADA explained:

“The Agency confirmed that some users had received illegitimate emails that look as though they come from WADA, which ask users to click on a link and enter their personal credentials. WADA quickly investigated and immediately sent an e-mail to all ADAMS users, including a warning banner on the ADAMS home page, alerting them to these e-mails, which WADA would never send, and asking them to advise ADAMS support immediately if they were to receive such an e-mail.”

The International Olympics Committee was widely criticized for failing to impose a blanket ban on all Russian athletes following the revelations, which has left many free to compete at Rio. However, it has felt it appropriate to ban all Russian Paraolympians.

Stepanova told the BBC last month that she and her husband “would feel unsafe” in Russia because “the reaction to our actions in our home country is not positive.”

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